FDA plans wider foreign inspection approach
from the Chinese government to install eight full time FDA
officials in the country, as part of plans to improve monitoring of
exported food manufacturing across the globe.
After receiving approval from the US State department to move ahead with the scheme, the FDA says it will now move to obtain Chinese backing from a permanent overseas office in the country, to ensure goods exported to the country are up to standard. A spokesperson for the FDA told FoodProductionDaily.com that that the plans formed part of a wider strategy by the FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to expand the authority's presence in at least five overseas markets. An expanded global network of agents would grant the agency greater access to inspections of manufacturing abroad, as well as improved interaction with processors over standards, according to the FDA. Murray M. Lumpkin, FDA deputy commissioner for International and Special Programs, said that despite being US-based, the agency was increasingly working in a worldwide market place. "In an age when a border is not a barrier, the globalised economy demands nothing less than heightened regulatory interoperability, information exchange, and cooperation, especially on product quality and enforcement matters," stated Lumpkin. "Along with the important Memoranda of Agreement signed with two FDA counterpart Chinese agencies, our efforts to fill permanent FDA positions in China are a significant step toward ensuring access to safe food, drugs, and medical devices in the global market." "[The] FDA is working to put things in place to carry out the hiring process," the spokesperson stated. "Placing staff in another country requires a significant effort and this would occur in phases over a period of 18 months." Should approval for the plan be met, the FDA said it would also aim to hire five Chinese nationals to work with both the FDA staff at the US embassy in Beijing and the US consulate General in Shanghai and Guangzhou.